The Beat of Panic Attacks

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It is all I can do to not pull my hair out as I scream into my pillow. The sight and sound of ambulance sirens. The moments that take my breath away, in a literal and not-so darling sense. The trigger that sets my heart to beat in the rhythm of gun shots firing against me. The dizziness that spins me into a tangled web of caution tape. The perpetual count to three that, alas, allows me to return.

3, 2, 1… there goes another panic attack.

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While I am known for writing about the relationships I have with others and with myself, there is one aspect that I have experienced with all of my relationships that I never speak about. This aspect manifests in the darkest times I have ever faced. The times that conjured up scary thoughts that I refuse to admit or type out. The chilling experiences and considerations that have led at times to the little miss sunshine persona I try oh-so-hard to portray transforming into little miss darkness.

This article hands-down has to be the darkest and most personal piece I have written yet:

The Beat of Panic Attacks

I have always lived with this philosophy: I control, therefore I am. I have constructed myself out of puzzle pieces that I try with all my power to keep glued together. The idea of myself falling apart is a constant nightmare, and yet, a reality I also face when I am at my darkest points.

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When it comes down to it, not every panic attack can be traced to its origin; maybe that is what makes them so daunting. If only my relationship with my panic attacks could resemble my previous relationships: out of sight, out of mind.

Yet if I could map the development of my panic attacks, moving from point A to point B, I would have to say that the key to getting there is my fear of embarrassment or humiliation in a public setting. I have always been so proud of how easily I can compose myself. However, as I said earlier, it has become my day job to play the role of little miss sunshine, when in reality the sun doesn’t always gleam 24/7. And maybe that is where I am at fault… for thinking that there is something wrong with that.

While I cannot pinpoint the main source of my panic attacks, I know at least that there is more to it than maintaining my happy go-lucky persona. Maybe the reason why my heart speeds up, my struggle with panic attacks, is because I am so concerned with a heart that stopped.

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My mom passed away from a heart disease called arrhythmia, aka an irregular heartbeat. I think that is what frightens me the most about my panic attacks–they make me wonder if that is what my mom felt right before she died. But rather than wondering about “what if” and “what was”, I will let it all be. My mom would hate knowing that my heart beats to a beat of the past.

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Besides, if my panic attacks have taught me anything, it is that I cannot glue the puzzle pieces of myself together all the time. These pieces may fall apart, but it is no puzzle that I can’t put back together again. I need to realize that it is okay to not be okay all the time.

I may have allowed my panic attacks to run wild, but I can only control so much, and I have never been scared of the dark. Therefore, I am turning on the light to my panic attacks and accepting them. I am turning on the light to the fact that even in puzzling moments, I can be pieced back together. Maybe with the lights on, my panic attacks will not be as haunting, since there will be nowhere for them to hide in the darkness.

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PS- Facts about the Author: As I mentioned earlier, I have always wanted to write about my struggle with my panic attacks. However I always managed to conduct some sort of false validation to chickening out. But I finally broke through my fear of writing this, and how so? Actually, I was having a panic attack when I typed up the first paragraph of this article. It was a little terrifying, but I am thinking/hoping it was all worth it.


View Comments (2)
  • Thank you for being so brave and writing about something that is so personal. I also struggle with forcing myself to maintain a “sunshine persona”, and I think that causes many issues in my life. I hope that you are feeing good today and that you continue to learn about yourself and possibly get better one day. :)

    • Sidney, your comment means so much to me! Thanks so much :) Anxiety is something I have struggled with for about six years now and I’ve definitely become acquainted to it– but what you said means the world to me!

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